Definitions and images to illustrate geological terms, links to images and website articles

geological maps

A geological map provides a graphic representation of selected geological features within a desired surface topographic or subsurface area. The size and relative position of each feature on the map corresponds to its correct geographic situation according to an established scale and projection. Mapped features included in the map key include geologic units, stratigraphic contour lines, fault lines, strike and dip lines, and other symbols. Information can be extrapolated from surface mapping in order to postulate the distribution of geological features in the subsurface. Resulting hypothetical structural models can provide the basis for exploring the landmass in search of its resources.

Commonly, geological features cannot be measured continuously over large areas, so other forms of evidence are employed to infer the delineation of large or hidden features. Surface geological features may be traceable in bedrock outcroppings (ground surveys), from air photographs (photogeological reconnaissance) and/or from satellite images. Subsurface geological features may be traceable in boreholes using cores, cuttings and/or geophysical logs. Geophysical surveys (measuring the magnetic, gravitational, or seismic properties) provide information that helps delineate geological features in the subsurface.

A Geographic Information System (GIS) is an efficient way to manage, analyse and display spatial data. Data from a variety of different sources can be rapidly computer-overlaid for viewing and analysis.

[links: images: LANDSAT image gallery, Geology - Oman; Seafloor Mapping, Bahia, Brazil; websites: Geological Map of Canada : Structural Geology (animations) : Geologic Maps from USGS National Park Service : Geological Maps, UWisc : USGS National Geologic Map Database : USGS Geology in the Parks : Animations : Plate Tectonics : Rocks & Minerals : Geologic Time : Glossary : Geomorphic Provinces : Sand Dunes : Caves : Glaciers : Coasts : NPS Park Geology Tour home]

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